Decadent Chocolate Roses

Today’s cake is a rather decadent chocolate layer cake. Months ago, my friend Emily sent me a picture of a cake with large chocolate rose swirls all over it, and I resolved to make it for her birthday. Well, her birthday eventually came around (as birthdays do), and she got her chocolate cake.

The cake itself is a simple cocoa devil’s food cake. which I iced with chocolate buttercream, both between the layers and on the outside. Then I made another batch of buttercream for the large roses.

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To help break up the monotony of constant brown chocolatey-ness, I whipped up a mini batch of vanilla buttercream and colored it pink. I added tiny swirls of pink ‘flowers’ to complement the brown.

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And of course, I got to practice my piping writing. Although I did forget to cross the ‘t’ in birthday! O.O

Sorry this was a bit of a short post this time around – I didn’t take many pictures of this cake, and it was a fairly simple confection.

Thanks for reading,

Jo x

 

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Happy Halloween!

Okay, okay… so Halloween was three days ago. Problem is, I like my scheduled Sunday updates, and I guess that means that if there’s a holiday involved, its related post is going to get delayed by a few days.

Besides, the only really exciting thing here is that I baked super cute Halloween cookies for our Halloween party.

We had some guests over for the week of the holidays, so baking these cookies took about three times the time it should have. My friend Jenna had given me a neat cookie making and decorating book for my birthday last year, with lots of recipes and techniques for using royal icing (of normal consistency and liquid consistency). My brother Keenan also sent me a link a few weeks ago to SugarBelle‘s website, which has a bunch of easy-to-follow cookie decorating tips.

So I was all set.

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I used my brand-new Halloween cookie cutters that I got from The Craft Company, and got lots of cookies out of the recipe. I just made a basic vanilla cookie, as that would suit everyone’s tastes.

After the cookies cooled, I mixed up the royal icing.

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I had A LOT which was good, because I was going to need several colors. That being said, I still have some plain white left over, even after making a second batch of cookies and decorating those. I read the instructions about royal icing both on SugarBelle’s website (Outlining and Filling Cookies) and in the recipe book, and starting icing the outlines. I started with the ghosts, because there was no color to add to the icing, so I figured they were the easiest to start with.

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They were quite easy and I was really pleased with myself.

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I also made bats and cats – although getting the black really black for the cat was tough, and I actually ran out, so some of my cats just had outlines. My bats looked pretty cool with outlines and accents too.

I was most pleased with how the pumpkins turned out though.

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Using royal icing was both tricky and simple. Simple, because there was no fancy opening or tip in the piping bag; I just sniped a tiny piece off at the end, and that was all I needed. The tricky part was diluting the icing to flooding consistency. Beginner’s luck allowed me to get the ghosts’ just right, but I added too much water to the black and purple, which meant they took much longer to dry. As it was, they were taking several hours.

I was pleasantly surprised that, despite the cookies laying out for the icing to dry for hours on end, they didn’t actually go stale at all. Some of these cookies are nearly a week old now, and still taste just as fresh.

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I found that decorating these cookies gave me a similar sense of satisfaction as decorating a cake. Of course, a cake is a one-off piece, with lots of smaller decorations coming together, whereas these cookies were four designs repeated many times over.

I had lots of fun, and I look forward to using different cookie recipes, and using my next set of holiday cookie cutters… Christmas is just around the corner!

Thanks for reading!

Here I am…

I have always liked helping in the kitchen. I have fond memories as a child, sitting on the counter, helping Mom to bake chocolate chip cookies. This went on to being the first recipe she let me bake entirely on my own (by the age of 10), closely followed by cupcakes. When I went to university, I found myself with a lot of free time, and started exploring my baking hobby to a greater depth. With some help along the way, I discovered icing techniques, countless recipes, and started browsing cake decorating tutorials and Facebook pages for inspiration.

A friend suggested I start a blog to keep a record of my baking adventures, and as a sort of portfolio, should I ever decide to do this professionally. At the moment, baking is for me a sort of de-stress mechanism. Baking helps relieve day-to-day tensions I build up. This past year, I agreed to bake the cakes for the team I work with at school, for our birthday lunches. Even though these were approximately once a month, once or twice I found myself stressing about the cakes, and spending entirely too much time perfecting them. So for now, I am not taking commissions or orders; I just want to share my experiences with you.

As this is the first blog I’ve ever kept, I welcome constructive criticism on presentation and content. Things that seem obvious to me might not be to you, and I will gladly answer any questions you have. I will always reference my recipes or techniques to the websites/tutorials where I found them.

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy reading through my blog.

Jo